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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Croquet? Okay!

Looking back on my childhood, some of the happiest times were spent quietly exploring the shelves and closets my parents had filled up before their four children had arrived. I never knew what I might find in the basement or garage, only that it would be something useful for playtime. A cardboard box full of Halloween costumes and a Santa Claus suit, a very old stereopticon and some sepia-toned postcards for viewing, Mom's glamorous hat boxes, a melodica, a table-top electric organ and any number of kazoos - and the world's dustiest croquet set. The croquet set - colorful wooden balls, mallets and a bunch of wire hoops - always intrigued me. My siblings and I would periodically remove the items from their carrying case, then spend hours puzzling over what we were supposed to do with them. The croquet set was a mysterious messenger of times gone by, as unusual to us suburban kids as if Jay Gatsby had come and stood at a distance, watching us at play as if he was presiding over one of his grandiose parties.

On September 8, 2007, the Des Plaines Public Library invites you to take a trip back in time for our Centennial Croquet Tournament. 2007 happens to be the Library's 100th birthday, and one of our celebratory events is the Croquet Tournament, happening from 1-5 p.m. at the Rose Garden on Thacker Street, across from Central School. The event is cosponsored by the Des Plaines Park District and the G.L. Hills Funeral Homes.

Who can play? Anybody! Sign up in person at the Des Plaines Public Library until August 31, 2007. There are three kinds of teams, Organization, Adult and Family - Family teams must have at least one player under 14. Two players to a team, please. Not sure how to play? No problem - we have instruction sheets ready for you when you register. Best of all, the event is free to participants and spectators and includes refreshments and entertainment by the strolling barbershop quartet, The Chordmasters. A very unusual croquet tournament takes place in Lewis Carroll's masterpiece, Alice in Wonderland, and if you bring your camera to the tournament you can have your picture taken as one of the Alice characters.

So in a world where everything is fast, disposable and high tech (um, like this blog, for instance!), stop and smell the roses while enjoying the old-fashioned, genteel pleasures of a game of croquet. Whether you envision yourself in Victorian England, hitting a masterful stroke before the crowds at Wimbledon (which, after all, is officially named "The All England Lawn Tennis and
Croquet Club"), or strolling an expanse of green in 1920s Long Island with Gatsby as your croquet partner, you're sure to find yourself transported from the hectic pace of modern times. We suspect you'll have some laughs and great memories to share, too. Join us for the Centennial Croquet Tournament, September 8, 2007, from 1-5 p.m.!

P.S. You can probably tell that your Web Services Librarian is a big fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. That novel also happens to be our September Tuesday Morning Book Club selection, so if you're interested, sign up! Click here for more details. Click here to find The Great Gatsby in our Library Catalog, including print, video and versions in Spanish and Polish.

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